Slackline and the Super Bowl Halftime Show

Okay, I apologize for diverting from financial blogs recently and writing about the Super Bowl so much. I promise that after today, you won't have to hear me talk about sports for at least...two weeks (spring training is right around the corner). Tomorrow we will be back to numbers and financial things and all that stuff that makes us happy :)

So the Patriots lost, Eli got the MVP (I have no idea why) and the commercials kind of stunk this year. What was the redeeming factor in this year's Super Bowl in my opinion? THERE WAS A SLACKLINER IN THE HALFTIME SHOW WITH MADONNA! Holy cow! I got so giddy with delight when I saw the curly haired guy bouncing along on the slackline. Did you see him? He was on about four minutes into the set, and he was bouncing around and doing lots of crazy tricks. Okay...hold up. What is slack lining you may ask? I'm so glad you were wondering!

I initially tried slack lining my first year of college. I was walking back from class and saw that someone had set up a slack line (I had no idea what it was) between two trees on the University of Maine Orono campus. Being someone who enjoys trying new things/being an oddball, I decided to try it out, and failed miserably. Honestly, I decided I'd probably never be able to walk on the line and gave up. It took me a whole year before I got hooked on slacklining. Once again, my second year of college, I decided to try standing up. After a few hours, I got the hang of walking a few steps, and after that I dedicated...well probably way too much time, to slack lining! A few short weeks later, I bought my own setup, and the rest is history.

Slack Lining is essentially taking pieces of tubular nylon webbing (climbing stuff/things you ratchet your canoe down with) between two trees and tightening the line so it's got a good amount of tension for you to walk on. It's different then tight rope walking for various reasons, but mainly because tight ropes are generally made of metal and are stable(ish) to walk on where a slackline is actually rather difficult at first. Not only is it bouncy like a trampoline, it also moves left and right which means you have to manage stabilizing the line underneath you. Remember the difference because if you ask a slackliner if they are tight rope walking, they may take offense!

So why is this a big deal? Well, slacklining is fairly new (been around for only about 30 years) and it's something that has taken huge steps in popularity in the last few years. There has even been some discussion in forums of slacklining becoming an Olympic event someday. Will it happen? I sure as heck hope so! I could finally find a way to punch my ticket to the Olympics (doubtful)! 

So who was the man on the slack line last night? His name is Andy Lewis, and he's arguably the best slackliner on earth. He is the first person to successfully land a backflip on the the line without falling off. Granted, more people have landed this trick since he initially did,(I haven't tried yet. I need some crash pads and a good dose of crazy) but makes any trick look simple. Check out this article to see how slacklining became part of this year's Super Bowl festivities.

So there you have it. Slacklining has officially hit the big stage! I assure you, it's only going to get more and more popular as time goes by. Make sure you do your research if you are thinking about trying to walk on one! Go onto YouTube and watch a bunch of videos so you can see all the crazy things people can do. And the next time you see a line up between two trees in the Bangor/Orono area, look for me. You just may find me!

Have you heard of/tried slacklining?

Seth P.